Saturday, June 23, 2007

Alzheimer's and meditation

Well, early this morning I found a VERY interesting article about meditation called "Meditation holds hope for Alzheimer's in tiny, early study". If you EVER needed a reason to jump start your motivation to meditate, this is it:

For the first time, there is evidence that daily meditation appears to improve memory loss and may strengthen parts of the brain affected by Alzheimer's disease.

That has to be welcome news to the millions of Americans facing the threat of this brain-destroying disease — expected to strike in epidemic numbers among aging baby boomers in the coming decades.

However, experts warn that the study showing that meditation improved memory function and increased blood flow to vital areas of the brain lacked scientific controls and was too small to actually prove meditation can delay or prevent the onset of Alzheimer's.

Even so, the preliminary findings are provocative — suggesting that a simple, inexpensive mind-body exercise with known health benefits may fortify our brains against mental decline as we age.

The results were presented this month at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference on the Prevention of Dementia in Washington, D.C. The study was funded by a Tucson-based foundation.

Practiced for centuries in ancient cultures — and now studied for its effects on human health — meditation, in its various forms, indeed has proved good for the body and the brain.

Studies show it can reduce stress and pain, ease depression, lower blood pressure, boost the immune system, increase attention, and promote stability in handling crises.

This is the first study to indicate positive effects on memory.

Okay, folks. Even if the results aren't conclusive, they are, as the article says, provocative. And even if there's a CHANCE that meditation might help prevent or delay Alzheimer's, it's worth giving it a go.

The rest of the article is fascinating, by the way, so click through and read it all if you have the time to do so.

UPDATE: I just found an article entitled "Alzheimer's: Prevention, Treatment, and Slowing Down". It is excellent. I suggest we all study it and take it to heart.

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